A statement by the spiritual leader Dalai Lama on a potential woman successor ended up stirring a debate and upsetting many. In the interview conducted by BBC News, the Dalai Lama talked at length about other issues as well like growing intolerance in the world and Donald Trump’s America First stance.
When asked about a woman successor, he replied, “If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive.”
However, the interviewer said that the Dalai Lama also pointed out that in Buddhist literature both inner and outer beauty matter. The spiritual leader also said that equality was important and was keen to stress that he supported women’s rights and equal pay in the workplace.
This was perhaps the most surprising moment in the interview. I asked the Dalai Lama if he stood by his earlier comment that if his successor was female, she should be attractive.
— Rajini Vaidyanathan (@BBCRajiniV) June 27, 2019
The Dalai Lama had made a similar comment in 2015, when he told the BBC that a future Dalai Lama certainly could be a woman but would have to be good looking or would be “not much use.” But the comment received a lot of flak on Twitter:
WOW. Just wow. Taking objectification of women to the Buddhist spiritual realm. https://t.co/RZdWvKIa9C
— Anu Sandhu Bhamra (@SandhuBhamra) June 28, 2019
Well there goes any respect I had for this guy. https://t.co/LrAQEk5fdW
— Pix (@nelson_peri) June 28, 2019
— Nibras Adambawa (@NibrasAdambawa) June 28, 2019
He has a point: superficiality & misogyny are extremely common, & a woman without what is considered “good looks” will face significantly more resistance & hatred than one with them.
It shouldn’t matter – looks are not policies – but shallowness is a disturbingly powerful force. https://t.co/qxhJLxoBGx
— I am no prophet; I am no warrior – I am a musician (@SeadogDriftwood) June 28, 2019
Weird. All my life I thought the Dalai Lama was a spiritual leader who dispensed inner wisdom. I guess I was wrong, and you have to be an attractive model to be of any use to your followers.
Between this and his comments on Europe, he might be reborn as an attractive tardigrade. https://t.co/XHJAsnCEoM
— Jorge APB (@ZefMex) June 28, 2019
— سلطان سعود القاسمي (@SultanAlQassemi) June 27, 2019
@DalaiLama sorry, but your sexist remarks are just indefensible. Very upsetting.
— Christian Sarkar (@christiansarkar) June 28, 2019
I’m going to go launch myself into the sun. Good bye. https://t.co/wlnpQ166XY
— Debs (@debsbasement) June 28, 2019
We rooted for you! We all rooted for you! 😳 https://t.co/PlN9dovFWB
— Kim Possible (@kimlockhartga) June 28, 2019
Sadly the #DalaiLama Lama has gone down the road of so many others like Germaine Greer & the Pope who were once important voices for the poor, the downtrodden & for women Their views have become outmoded & irrelevant at best and highly toxic & divisive at worst. https://t.co/gojDrYKzuW
— Trixy for justice (@trixyforjustice) June 28, 2019
Apparently even the Dalai Lama is a sexist. https://t.co/n1CHO5DkdN
— Sarah (@Sara_Says_No) June 28, 2019
I think he’s trying to say that if a female becomes the Dalai Lama, she would HAVE to be very attractive, or she won’t be taken seriously. Pretty sure he is stating an uncomfortable truth.
— Kristina Gardner 🇨🇦 🌈 (@1staidgirl) June 28, 2019
Dalai Lama is stating a fact……
Same thing happens with a man…. They want a leader to exhibit strength….. Is that being sexist?….. I think not…. https://t.co/pcpWCSobpU
— 🇺🇸 T. K. Philly 🇺🇲 (@dwsjca) June 27, 2019
His Holiness, Dalai Lama is open to having a female successor as future spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists but he wants her to be ‘Attractive’ to say the least.
PS: I wonder what are the prerequisites for people from other gender? Would being male suffice?
— Waleed Javaid (@waleedjavaidd) June 27, 2019
In the interview, the Dalai Lama also spoke up against US President Donald Trump and lamented his lack of moral principle. He also called on the US to take global responsibility.